US shopper pepper-sprays fellow bargain-hunters

US shopper pepper-sprays fellow bargain-hunters

LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse

A woman pepper-sprayed other shoppers at a Los Angeles area store in a bid to beat out fierce competition for bargains during a Black Friday "doorbuster" sale, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The woman, who authorities have not yet identified, used mace in several aisles of a Wal-Mart store in the Porter Ranch neighborhood "to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store," Los Angeles Fire Captain James Carson told the Times.

He said 20 customers, including children, were injured. The shoppers complained of sore throats and minor skin and eye irritation.

Wal-Mart signaled the start of its Black Friday sale at 10:00 pm Thursday, getting a head start on the traditional sale that follows the Thanksgiving holiday.

And amid all the pushing and shoving, the woman pepper-sprayed shoppers in what Carson called a "competitive shopping" incident to snap up heavily discounted Xbox gaming consoles, Wii video games, Bratz dolls and tricycles.

"People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray," Alejandra Seminario told the Times.

"I did not want to get involved. I was too scared. I just stayed in the toy aisle."

She said the pepper spray hung in the air, causing her to cough and her face to itch.

Other shoppers "had been sprayed in the face, it looked like, and they had swelling of the face, really extreme swelling of face, redness, coughing," Seminario added